Human Security in Armed Conflict: Norms, Agendas and Actors for Protecting Civilians

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter examines the development, content and enforcement of international law for the protection of civilians in armed conflict. It argues that the protection of civilians has become increasingly legalised since the end of the Cold War. With wide acceptance that much of international human rights law applies during armed conflict, and the establishment of customary rules and jus cogens, there has been some increase in the level of obligation of states and other actors to comply with basic rules concerning the protection of civilians. Furthermore, clarification of who counts as a civilian, specification of particular sub-sets of the civilian population in need of protection, and prohibition of particular repertoires and techniques of violence have all served to increase the precision of the rules. Moreover, implementation has been increasingly delegated to third parties, as the UN Security Council, international and regional tribunals, and international nongovernmental organisations have all come to play an important role in the enforcement of these rules.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationResearch Handbook on International Law and Human Security
EditorsGerd Oberleitner
Place of PublicationCheltenham
PublisherEdward Elgar
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9781800376977
ISBN (Print)9781800376960
Publication statusPublished - 14 Oct 2022

Publication series

NameResearch Handbooks in International Law
PublisherEdward Elgar


  • Human security
  • Armed conflict
  • Protection of civilians
  • International humanitarian law
  • Jus in bello
  • United Nations


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